In one timeline crown birds didn’t make it past the KT event, but ichthyornithids did. Like our birds they quickly radiated into a massive array of species; most of the initial niches were raptorial and insectivorous, but gradually aquatic plant eaters and arboreal frugivores kickstarted an herbivorous revolution, and these would eventually pale with the arrival of blunt-beaked herbivores, the toothed parrots.
The ancestor of the toothed parrots was a semi-aquatic, swamphen like ichthyornithid. It waded in the warm swamps of the Eocene, shifting from a duck or crane-like diet of soft aquatic plants into hardier reeds. …
To honor the new Minotaur Hotel build. Contains spoilers for both the ruthless and normal routes.
He sleeps soundly, arms wrapped around you.
You already don’t really feel the urge to sleep, as his peace and happiness warms your chest.
But you have something important to do, and so you calmly wait until he rolls around, as instincts demand weight to be distributed around different parts of the body as one sleeps.
Even if it takes two hours.
You take a deep breath, and become your most ninja self. …
To honor the latest release of Minotaur Hotel I decided to do an article on what is known of the Minoan deities.
Known as the “first European city-makers” and a distant precursor to Greece, what is called the Minoan Civilization after King Minos of Crete was a mysterious Bronze Age nation that governed Crete and neighbouring parts of the Aegean. Its age, likely influences over posterior Greek (and by extension western) culture and unique art has long made it a subject of mystique and intrigue. …
Those who are prudent belong to the Moon.
In life your mind was sharp,
A crescent sickle to pierce ignorance and darkness alike.
Not a decision went by without you knowing,
Not a single shadow tripped your feet
Or flame licked your heart.
You did well, but an imperfection remains:
You were not brave.
Enjoy your rest, the philosopher musing on their cowardice.
Those who are just belong to Venus,
Every seed an action and a gift.
You loved and you nurtured,
You gave everyone their dues with the utmost kindness.
Your heart spread roots like veins,
Growing without control…
A common trend in pterosaur paleoart in the mid-2000’s was depicting them with two sets of wings. In these depictions the legs, usually free from the brachiopatagium, would be elevated in flight and, thanks to their own uropatagia running alongside them, form a secondary set of wings. Essentially, a membranous version of the tail feathers of birds like swallows or kites.
This trend seems to have been popularised by John Conway and quickly took hold, before disappearing roughly in the early 2010’s. Nowadays, it is rare to see this type of depiction, at least among serious artists.
The appeal of…
By the Early Cretaceous, both birds and pterosaurs had achieved a cosmopolitan distribution, thanks to their abilty to fly. A lot has been written on the diversity of both groups up to the end of the Mesozoic, but it is widely agreed that even in the Maastrichtian pterosaurs were found in all continents including Oceania (Witton 2008) and Antarctica (Kellner 2019). And the same applied for birds, with both northern hemisphere formations like Hell Creek and southern hemisphere ones like the Lecho Formation offering insights to the diverse avifauna of this epoch.
In spite of this, however, there are two…
(Once again thanks to Ron Blakey, NAU Geology, for the free use in desecrating the maps)
A basic map of ratite “urheimats” during the earliest Cenozoic: red = ostriches and kin, indigo = “lithornithids”, green = rheas, yellow = casuariforms, dark red/crimson = moas and tinamous and brown = kiwis and elephant birds.
A Laurasian origin for Paleognathae has been proposed in several recent studies, in contrast to the old idea that ratites are gondwannan vicariants. The two most basal clades, “lithornithids” and ostriches, certainly are dominant during the Paleogene of Laurasia and predate gondwannan ratite fossils. Lithornithids are thought…
In an alternate timeline two lineages of placoderms convergent with syngnathid fish evolved:
- Longmaiformes were a clade of arthrodires of uncertain affinities as they more or less appear in the mid-Devonian fossil reccord as they are, with the general consensus leaning towards being part of Coccosteina. They developed long, tubular jaws similar to those of the Cretaceous turtle Ocepechelon, the upper jaw dental plates flanking it to keep the suction tube’s shape and the lower jaw’s dental plate reduced to a small hook keep the jaw closed, with only a small jaw motion required for a gap to be…
Placodonts were some of the most resilient groups of Triassic marine reptiles, consistently surviving minor extinction events with minimal diversity loss until the mass extinction.
In one timeline, this did not happen. Instead, their diversity would continue, in some ways replacing the turtles from our timeline.
The Mesozoic reccord of placodonts is relatively stable. Their diversity remains mostly consistent in spite of several other extinction events affecting other marine reptiles (such as thalattosaurs, phytosaurs and pleurosaurs), there being two major spikes of diversity: in the early Jurassic and late Cretaceous.
Soon after the TJ extinction event, Placochelyidae increases significantly in…